Special-Needs Children Get Chance to Scuba Dive

Every now and then, we come across people who warm our hearts and make us grab the Kleenex.

The fact is the world is brimming with beautiful souls.

Take for example the folks from Children’s Miracle Network. They’ve teamed up with Monterey Bay Aquarium and the Salinas Valley Memorial Hospital Foundation to give birth to “Days of Discovery” — a beautiful program that gave special-needs children between the ages of 8 and 13 a rare chance to explore the ocean.

“We host the event on the Great Tide Pool on the back deck of the aquarium,” George Z. Peterson, the Director of Dive Programs at Monterey Bay Aquarium said. “And how the tide pool is situated, when families visiting the aquarium step onto the back deck, they’re only about 25 feet from the tide pool. And when many of the families who aren’t participating in the event see what’s happening, most of them stop and watch. By the end of the event, the crowd is going nuts and everyone is crying and laughing and applauding when they see the kids getting out of the water.”

To say that the children had a grand time is an understatement. Luke Appleton who has Friedreich’s Ataxia, a disease that causes progressive damage to his nervous system couldn’t be happier.
“It was amazing because I got to see every animal in there,” the 12-year old recalled. “I like water much better than land.”

8-year-old James Hinkle feels the same way too. “I love the water,” Hinkle quipped. “I learned about decorator crabs. They decorate themselves to hide from enemies.”

The free event hosted 36 families and couldn’t be a better display of children’s natural and spirited approach in life.
“My heart feels like its 10 times bigger than it normally is and I feel like my face is going to crack because I’m smiling so much,” said Luke’s mom, Casandra Appleton.


image source: ksbw.com